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My workplace non-negotiables: How I knew SEC was the right environment for me

Posted on 10 May 2022 by Olivia Skye

Website Banner   Desktop (14)

My workplace non-negotiables: How I knew SEC was the right environment for me

Posted on 10 May 2022 by Olivia Skye

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​I started my recruitment journey back in 2019, just shy of three years prior to joining SEC. I began my career working the EU and UK markets, but was drawn in by the hustle and bustle provided by the US market. I soon switched my remit and have been working with stateside clients and candidates ever since.
When the opportunity came up to join the newly formed US division at SEC, it looked like the ideal opportunity - but it was going to take somewhere special for me to consider a new role.

I joined SEC with the purpose of expanding our US life science presence. This was something I knew I could do and knew I could do well, as in my previous firm I’d built up the US market from scratch. So, when the chance to join SEC came up, the opportunity looked ideal for me.​​

But when I was considering a new role there were three non-negotiables – things I’d consider dealbreakers if the agency I was interviewing with couldn’t offer them.

First, homeworking flexibility was essential. When the pandemic hit, like so many of us, I had to adjust to working from home - and I came to love it. With the everyday commute too and from the office gone, I got back hours of my life that I didn’t even realise I was losing. With this new control over these hours I became so much more productive day-to-day, and knew that this was the way I wanted to work.

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"Having the flexibility to work from anywhere has allowed me to fulfil some of my life goals. I always wanted to live abroad, and SEC allowed me to do that."

One of my biggest passions in life (second to life science recruitment, of course!) is to travel, and after 8 years in London I was ready for a change of scenery. As well as the flexibility to work from home, I knew I wanted to be with an agency that would allow me to work from anywhere.

Once restrictions eased and international travel was possible again, I took my chance and upped and moved to Spain – and SEC were open to the fact I’d be working outside of the country. Being based here my hours are slightly different; I’m an hour ahead of the UK and 6 hours ahead of the US, so my work day starts at noon. It might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I feel like I’m living my absolute dream lifestyle.

Now before I start work, I have the time to go to the beach and workout, the freedom in my mornings is great. Then, at lunch I’ll go for a walk around my area, usually back to the beach (it’s just so close to my house) before working through until around 9pm. Spanish culture works so well with my hours, as unlike the UK, everyone tends to have dinner around 9-10pm anyway. So, I’ll have time to go out and meet my friends for dinner before starting all over again the next day.

Having the flexibility to work remotely has allowed me to fulfil some of my life goals. Ahead of turning 30 I’d always wanted to live abroad, and SEC allowed me to do that.

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My second dealbreaker was relating to development. I wanted to constantly be learning, developing, and growing as a consultant. When I started at SEC I had just under three years of experience, and I knew that there were areas that I wanted to improve in. Since joining I’ve learnt a lot more than I ever anticipated I would, purely because of the experience the senior team have here.

SEC recently brought on a new Performance and Development Director, Pin, and - no exaggerations - he is a legend. In the time that I’ve been here he has taught me so much already, things I didn’t realise I needed teaching or brushing up on.

Everyone, no matter what position you are in, is seen and treated as equals. Even if you are an experienced recruiter, you’re not expected to know everything, and with the support here I’m learning every single day. It’s just been so refreshing.

"When I joined SEC I had just under three years of experience, and I knew knew there were areas I wanted to improve in. Since joining I've learnt a lot more than I ever anticipated I would, purely because of the experience the senior team have here."

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And finally, I needed my potential manager’s leadership style to connect with how I like to be managed. When you first start, SEC ask their consultants to do a characteristics personality assessment. I loved this because its purpose is to clearly see how someone likes to learn, and which environments they like to work in and can thrive in.

Based on this, the managers can adapt their style and approach to suit that individual. As an experienced recruiter finding a manager that takes this seriously, trusts you, and supports you in your role all while helping you build your desk is often hard to come by, especially working remotely. So, knowing that this assessment was in place, and after the initial conversations ahead of joining, it was clear that these were my kind of people.

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SEC recognised me as an individual and valued my recruitment skills, so coming in as an experienced consultant they were flexible in accommodating and supporting my career trajectory.

The time and effort that my managers have put into my development has been next-level and I’m so appreciative of that. With this support, both my team and I have had some great successes, we’ve opened some fantastic clients, and so I am really excited to continue on my SEC journey.